Canonizations: looking back and looking forward

I went back to my post last July and reread it.

Yes. I am right about this.

Wherein Fr. Z explains what is really going on with the canonizations of John XXIII and John Paul II

Today, in addition to Francis’ dedication of the Vatican City State to St. Michael (and does that place need defense of the attacks of Hell!) and in addition to the release of Benedict’s final encyclical, which is Francis’ first encyclical (thus perhaps shifting “Reading Francis through Benedict” to “Reading Benedict through Francis”), His Holiness confirmed the decree of the Congregation for Causes of Saints concerning a miracle worked through the intercession of Bl. John Paul II, thus clearing the way for his canonization.

At the same time, His Holiness of our Lord decided that he would go ahead with the canonization of Bl. John XXIII even though there is no additional authenticated miracle.

Let’s be clear: Pope’s can do that.

John Paul II strayed from the usual time line in the case of St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, in 2002. There was eventually a miracle attributed to St. Juan Diego, one of the more amazing miraculous healings I have read about. I digress.

Here is what I think is really going on with these canonizations.

The decision to canonize Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II at the same time, at the time when we are observing the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, is a kind of “canonization” of the Second Vatican Council.

So, why does John Paul II have to be involved with that? Why is not Bl. John XXIII enough to do that?

Some will suggest that John XXIII appeals more to liberals while John Paul II appeals more to conservatives. Putting them together is an attempt to bridge the divide. I don’t think so.  This isn’t quite like the double beatification of  Bl. John XXIII with Bl. Pius IX, a move which probably sought to soften the Pian aspect.

This canonization has more to do with putting yet another stamp of approval on the Second Vatican Council.  It is here to stay, if you were in doubt.

But wait, there’s more.

The canonizations have even more to do identifying the proper lens or hermeneutic by which we are to interpret the Council: the pontificate and the magisterium of St. Pope John Paul II.

This move is intended to identify John Paul II as our helper in interpreting difficult and controversial aspects of the Council.

There are controversial texts in the documents of the Second Vatican Council. The whole of the Council itself is controversial. Enter John Paul II. He was a bishop at the Council who helped write important passages in Gaudium et spes. During his heroically long pontificate John Paul, in his magisterium, commented at some point on virtually every controversial or disputed point in the Council documents and on the event of the Council itself.  He may not have solved, settled, definitively pronounced, on every controversial issue, but he offers commentary and insight on them.

Try to think of some controversial aspect of the Council or it’s documents that John Paul II did not write about or preach about.

I think what Francis is saying by this is that, if you have a problem with any aspect of the Council, turn to the papal teaching of St. John Paul II for clarifications and help in interpretation.

Some who don’t like the magisterium of Pope John Paul II will say, “No, Francis is pointing their personal virtues.”  That’s because by the canonization, John Paul’s magisterium is getting a boost.  Ask yourself which documents of future St. John Paul II the LCWR (aka The Zittelle) rush to cite.  Do they want to see canonized the one who issued Ordinatio sacerdotalis?  No.  In effect, the bodies of magisterial teaching of these two Popes are, by the canonizations, getting a serious boost.

I don’t know what this means for reading Vatican II in continuity with Vatican I, with Trent, with Lateran V, with … with… with….  I know that I won’t stop reading Vatican II without those other Councils, back to Nicea and Jerusalem.

Nevertheless, I think Francis steering us to John Paul II as an additional interpretive lens, for a proper hermeneutic of reform.

Agree with Francis’ move or not, I think this is what the Pope is doing.  Francis is firmly in the Benedictine, Ioanno-Pauline line. Furthermore, I think Benedict would have done the same thing!  If anyone doubts this, she should reread Benedict’s 2009 letter to bishops about the SSPX!  For example:

One cannot freeze the magisterial authority of the Church in 1962 and – this must be quite clear to the Fraternity. But to some of those who show off as great defenders of the Council it must also be recalled to memory that Vatican II contains within itself the whole doctrinal history of the Church. Who wants to be obedient to it [sc. the Council] must accept the faith of the centuries and must not cut the roots of which the tree lives.

In effect, the Second Vatican Council is here to stay.  What we make of the Second Vatican Council is, as Francis is signalling, is also here to stay.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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39 Responses to Canonizations: looking back and looking forward

  1. ChrisRawlings says:

    I think that is much more fully what was going on rather than the facile conservative-liberal dichotomizing of the media.

    I still found the sermon a little cryptic, though. I don’t see how the Church could possibly change its praxis on remarriage and Communion. But it would be much easier if the issue wasn’t left hanging out there like a piece of meat over which the media is whipping itself into a frenzy. If the synod is to be guided by St. JPII’s Magesterium, that is something I would like to hear made more explicit now.

  2. RobertK says:

    But most in the church today look at Vatican 2 as the council to end all councils. I look at it as the least important of all the councils, and always will. Conserdering how it was hijacked by liberals and progressives in the church, and how most mainstream Catholic clergy talk about it today as though it were the only council of any significance. We all know how Popes John Paul II and John XXIII’s cannonizations were rushed. So Vatican 2 purists could have their saints. Imagine how the SSPX feel. A Saint (San Giovanni Paulo II) literally excommunicated their founder (Arch Lefevebre) . I guess their opinions and cause will now have even less weight to them.

  3. Sword40 says:

    The first Pope that I can remember was Pius XII. I was 18 when he passed. Never gave much thought to John XXIII, I was busy being a young man caring for nothing but where I was going.
    John Paul II was only partially in my mind as I was busy beginning a family. I only gave him some thought as I watched the church go through its 70’s-80’s upheaval.

    So I’ve never been a real fan of his. I was touched by his passing and felt encouragement when Benedict XVI was elected.

    Now in my mid 70’s I find Pope Francis to be a bit confusing. But God knows what is best for us in the long run. So I just pray and try to bring my kids back to the church. Its a tough road out there.

  4. Geoffrey says:

    In a Polish television interview on 16 October 2005, Pope Benedict XVI himself said: “All this is a rich patrimony that has not yet been assimilated by the Church. My personal mission is… to ensure that his documents are assimilated, because they are a rich treasure, the authentic interpretation of Vatican II.”

    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/document.php?n=96

  5. lana says:

    Wow, that was well-written!

    I am glad It was Pope Francis AND Pope Benedict (who fast tracked St. JPII’s beatification) AND God (who fast- tracked the full number of miracles) all steering this.

    It is so awesome to have -seen- a real live saint pass through our lives. The man who has been personally seen by more people than anyone else in history! From his youth to his last painful
    years. What a witness in every way. I am glad he was canonized so early so so many people can say ‘I saw a saint.’

  6. lana says:

    Thanks, Geoffrey. It took a while but I found your quote. Just like Fr Z wrote: ” in speaking of the Pope’s legacy, I forgot to mention the many documents that he left us – 14 encyclicals, many Pastoral Letters, and others. All this is a rich patrimony that has not yet been assimilated by the Church. My personal mission is not to issue many new documents, but to ensure that his documents are assimilated, because they are a rich treasure, they are the authentic interpretation of Vatican II. We know that the Pope was a man of the Council, that he internalized the spirit and the word of the Council. Through these writings he helps us understand what the Council wanted and what it didn’t. This helps us to be the Church of our times and of the future.”

  7. Bosco says:

    Why does any one or anything have to be read through any prism other than through the 2000 year doctrinal patrimony of the Holy Catholic Church?

    These times are, at best, seen through a glass darkly. In my estimation that dark glass becomes more opaque by the day.

  8. Lavrans says:

    I tend to agree with one of my advisers in grad school who stated that in a few hundred years time, the second Vatican council will not be well remembered and will be considered a minor council. As he often said, the 50 to 100 years following any council is a time of turbulence and confusion. These past 50 years are not really a surprise. The council, in the grand scheme of things, really isn’t all that important and will not have the impact that some of the breathless among us think it will. I think its most influential time has about another 50 years, tops.

  9. Tamquam says:

    I remember having read somewhere that the Church goes through roughly 200 year cycles of stagnation, decay, reform, implementation, institutionalization, stagnation . . . I have always thought it would take about a century to implement it all. It has been “interesting” to live though this bit of history. I think it will more interesting to watch it from the bright side of the veil.

  10. Lavrans says:

    Christopher Dawkins speaks of different ages of the Church. There is a rise, a peak, a fall, and then a rebuilding. I think he estimated six different cycles thus far. Think of it as breathing in and expanding and then exhaling and contracting. If only we had both lungs…

  11. cajuncath says:

    While it is true that popes have a great deal of authority, changing Catholic truth is not supposed to be one of them.

    As Cardinal Wojtyla, the late pope had once declared that the Church had redefined her very nature at Second Vatican Council. That is clearly an untrue statement. And it’s not the only statement he made that was lacking in full Catholic accuracy.

    If we could bring back to life all of our deceased popes from Pope Pius XII going back, I’m sure they would have a thing or two [or three] to say about the Second Vatican Council documents. And I’m fairly certain it wouldn’t be a pretty sight.

    As long as the proximate rule of faith remains as squishy and nebulous as it has been, and apparently gives insufficient care and regard to the fullness of classical truth and tradition, it is a perfectly proper Catholic response to rely on the remote rule of faith.

    I urge all who have not done so to read Fr. Chad Ripperger’s splendid “The Binding Force of Tradition” which was published last year.

  12. Ben Kenobi says:

    “The council, in the grand scheme of things, really isn’t all that important and will not have the impact that some of the breathless among us think it will.”

    That we’re discussing this with a priest in English who’s in Rome is evidence enough that the world has changed and we’re not going back to 1962. What was lost will be difficult to recover, and will have repercussions now as it will many years down the line. That being said, I will maintain that the only lasting change will be the use of the vernacular. Humanae Vitae is cited more often these days than the Second Vatican council. If I were to ask people what was taught, at Second Vatican, how many would get it right? Few, even among the supporters care to state it accurately (preferring to murmur on about female priests, abortion, contraception, divorce etc, and how the Council permitted them to do all these things. An argument that has zero relevance to those under 50.

  13. robtbrown says:

    cajuncath says:

    While it is true that popes have a great deal of authority, changing Catholic truth is not supposed to be one of them.

    True

    As Cardinal Wojtyla, the late pope had once declared that the Church had redefined her very nature at Second Vatican Council. That is clearly an untrue statement. And it’s not the only statement he made that was lacking in full Catholic accuracy.

    He was right, but it began with Pius XII’s Mystici Corporis rather than Vat II.

    There are two basic ways of understanding the Church: 1) The Church as the Mystical Body of Christ–an approach found in Scripture, St Augustine, and St Thomas. 2) The Church as a Perfect Society with legislating powers–an approach coming from St Robert Bellarmine.

    Pius XII and Vat II both attempted to return to the first way. Some think it is a retreat from a traditional approach. In fact, it is a return to it.

  14. cajuncath says:

    robtbrown,

    Truths about the Church are both/and, not either/or. The Church grows and organically develops, it does not change and redefine.

    While I don’t know Pope Pius XII’s cited encyclical inside out, I didn’t see any use of the word ‘redefine’ in it. Wreckless primitivisms and antiquarianisms were something that he did not appreciate. And he, along with most all orthodox churchmen of his day, certainly opposed Nouvelle Theologie, something that Pope John Paul II apparently had few to no qualms about.

  15. smmclaug says:

    “Why does any one or anything have to be read through any prism other than through the 2000 year doctrinal patrimony of the Holy Catholic Church?”

    Because documents are written in “prisms,” they’re written in words. Sometimes the plain and obvious meaning of a document contradicts the doctrinal patrimony of the Church. When it does, it is a dishonest exercise to try “reading it” through a “prism” that transmogrifies it by some process of legerdemain into something orthodox. Recall that a prism bends, separates, and distorts the light that passes through it.

    The hermeneutic of continuity, so called, is not a lot more than attempt to do just that to the plain meaning of Church practice, Church documents, papal pronouncements, and all else that is encompassed by the phrase “Conciliar Church.”

  16. McCall1981 says:

    If Pope Francis is saying he’s going to interpret Vat II (and marriage, divorce, etc) through John Paul II, rather than through Card Kasper, I’m all for it.

  17. McCall1981 says:

    When Francis spoke the other day on the indissolubility of marriage, he cited JPII then as well:

    “He pointed to the teaching of Blessed John Paul II on marriage and family as a “promising and indeed indispensable means of communicating the liberating truth about Christian marriage.””

    http://southernorderspage.blogspot.com/2014/04/bombshell-pope-francis-clarifies-his.html?m=1

  18. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “Sometimes the plain and obvious meaning of a document contradicts the doctrinal patrimony of the Church.”

    Funny, that’s exactly what the atheists and fundamentalists say about the Bible versus the Church — much less the doctrinal patrimony of the Church.

    If a document is written in technical terms, or Biblical idioms, or in terms of theological concepts translated into English versions of Latin and Greek terms, its “plain and obvious meaning” isn’t. If the English language has changed while the Church version of a word has maintained a different definition, or if there are important theological assumptions that the reader is already supposed to know, you might need an interpreter.

    Even at the time of the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence had to be read in the light of previous work on government and rights; there are references in the document to these previous works. (Including Catholic ones.) The Constitution was explicated by the Federalist Papers and by other sources written by the guys who put it together, so that people would know what they meant by it.

    And very few Vatican II documents were written clearly in the original! There was no Jefferson or Madison among the periti.

  19. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Actually, Paul and Acts and Peter and James and John, and in fact the entire Bible, are all about explicating the oral teachings that people already knew. So if it’s good enough for the Lord God to inspire it, it’s a good enough technique for the rest of us.

  20. BLB Oregon says:

    “The decision to canonize Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II at the same time, at the time when we are observing the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, is a kind of ‘canonization’ of the Second Vatican Council.”

    If so, then the canonization of what it was, rather than the canonization of the false things that some tried to make of it. I believe that as Our Holy Father’s pontificate goes on, it will be realized more and more that he is made according to what these saintly predecessors really were, particularly with regards to Pope St. John XXIII, and also not according to what people have sometimes tried to make both them and now him out to be.

  21. Robbie says:

    I certainly agree, that while John XXIII and John Paul II were canonized for many great reasons, their canonizations also served as a way to canonize VII. And I also agree that VII is here to stay, but possibly only for now. After all, Pope Pius V thought he had mandated the traditional Latin rite for all time, but some 400 years later it was changed. The point is we just can’t know how future generations will look at VII and it effects so we can’t say for sure it won’t change.

  22. robtbrown says:

    cajuncath says:

    robtbrown,

    Truths about the Church are both/and, not either/or. The Church grows and organically develops, it does not change and redefine.

    When a boy becomes an adult, he is known as a man. That is a change in definition, even though he’s still a male human.

    While I don’t know Pope Pius XII’s cited encyclical inside out, I didn’t see any use of the word ‘redefine’ in it. Wreckless primitivisms and antiquarianisms were something that he did not appreciate. And he, along with most all orthodox churchmen of his day, certainly opposed Nouvelle Theologie, something that Pope John Paul II apparently had few to no qualms about.

    La Nouvelle Theologie, as it was known to Garrigou-LaGrange, has little to do with this question. Although it advocated the return to Patristic Sources and Scripture, in fact, it was a movement that suppressed any notion of philosophical truth and permitted theological historicism.

    As I said above, it was the approach of St Thomas and St Augustine. With the Ecclesiology of the Church as Perfect Society, St Thomas’ approach was all but forgotten. And it seems to me that in a certain sense they are concentric circles, with the Mystical Body of Christ being the larger one.

    I have to add that with both approaches there is an accompanying Sacramental Theology. St Thomas’ theology, in which Christ is the principal celebrant of every celebration of every Sacrament, is not to be found in the Bellarmine approach

  23. robtbrown says:

    Robbie says:

    After all, Pope Pius V thought he had mandated the traditional Latin rite for all time, but some 400 years later it was changed.

    It wasn’t changed–a New Rite was promulgated.

  24. Robbie says:

    robtbrown

    The point remains. Who is to say another pope simply won’t sideline VII just as Paul VI did with the traditional Latin rite? It seems unlikely today and will probably seem unlikely even 25 years from now, but if the pews stay empty and vocations stay low you never know. I admit. It’s unlikely. Name one institution that, after moving significantly to the left, suddenly or not so suddenly moved back to the right.

  25. Dundonianski says:

    Robbie says that “–a new rite was promulgated” I assume that this was the rite of the craftsman named Bugnini? Well, for my money the late great Michael Davies nailed that “promulgated rite” as more suited to Cranmer than The truly great Pope St Pius V; I guess I just can’t seem to move with the times, poor fashionista that I am!!!

  26. Uxixu says:

    I imagine once they got over the shock of the vernacular and the sometimes profound lack of reverence exhibited by the congregation, they would recognize the process of the same substance in the Mass in numerous elements from the Confiteor through the Consecration, though they would wonder where the chant went and would be most shocked at why all these laity were in the sanctuary going to and fro.

    Those from many ages would be just as mystified by our tabernacles and wonder why the Blessed Sacrament was not suspended above the altar instead of at the back of a high altar or behind the mensa or in a chapel off to the side (as it would have been in Cathedrals for many periods).

    They would also recognize that they would be unable to bind their future heirs as much as they could bind their predecessors in hindsight.

    We can but pray that the Holy Father is inspired to restore the glorious traditions of the Latin Rite after a period of great uncertainty and that the text of Sacrosanctum Concilium is ever fully realized in the modern Form of the single Roman Rite with a Latin. Celebrating ad orientem and chanting the readings in the vernacular should not be held contrary to the “spirit of Vatican II” and should in no way interfere in the Ordinary of the Mass.

  27. Lavrans says:

    I guess one thing that we traditional types could do is begin to spout a bunch of heretical and liberal wackjobbery and not respond to critics or even the CDF as this seems to be the ticket to being left alone nowadays.

    Consider it self-defense.

  28. PaterAugustinus says:

    Can somebody explain this to me? I am a former Orthodox monk, converting to the Catholic Faith.

    The Pope that opened Vatican II said the council was not dogmatic, and did not promulgate doctrine. The Pope that closed it said the same. Popes since then have said the same. The council documents say the same. So, why is this council taken so seriously? Why is there so much drama over getting an “authentic” interpretation? It seems clear that the Council is not in real continuity with the past, and that, well-meaning efforts of modern Popes aside, it can only be read in an “hermeneutic of continuity” with difficulty. I think future generations will indeed consider this Council to be a spiritual treasure, but chiefly for the way in which it demonstrated that the Holy Spirit really does guard the Church… for, even when a “Robber Synod” managed to gain the approval of an indulgent Pope, and so acquired Ecumenical authority, the Holy Spirit yet found a way to save the Church, by preventing the council from promulgating any authoritative doctrine – an event without precedent in all Church history! I’m not at all sure that this council is “here to stay” – I mean, it’s on the books and always will be, but, isn’t it clear that, once the generation that is emotionally invested in this council has passed on to their eternal rewards, Vatican III will convene and give the much-needed dogmatic critique/commentary upon VII. And that, thereafter, VII will only be cited as an extraordinary proof that the above-mentioned divine protection of the Church.

    I am further confused by this, when I read the Catechism. Sometimes when I read it, I think: “That’s certainly not the Catholic Faith; the Greek and Latin Fathers, the Doctors and Councils of the Church, express almost the exact opposite opinion, consistently.” I think especially of the modernist ideas about who is really “in” the Church, and whether they will be saved. Then I look at the “authority” the Catechism cites for this or that idea, and it’s always Lumen Gentium or something from VII or later. It seems to me, that if there is a council that disavows its own doctrinal authority, as VII does, it would be a mistake to put a doctrine in the Catechism on the sole authority of that council’s documents. Am I missing something? Why does the Catechism routinely cite a Council that did not promulgate authoritative doctrine, to uphold controversial points? Surely it would be best only to cite dogmatically authoritative sources in a Catechism, even on minor, settled points?

    I’m not meaning to sound dismissive or obtuse. But it seems obvious to me that this council is not “here to stay.” Obviously, VII happened and is an Ecumenical Council and will always be on the books. But, it seems to me that the Church will happily cease punishing herself with this “hermeneutic of continuity” drama, just as soon as there’s a bit more daylight between us and the Council, and there is no longer an immense throng of small-c catholics (who hijacked it in the first place) seeking to make it the “Most Wunderfullest Council Evurrr.”

    Am I wrong? Why? At the very least, tell me what I’m missing, as to the Council not being dogmatic, and not promulgating new doctrine. This is admitted by all, right? So why is so much ink spilled trying to explain the “teaching” of the Council? Likewise, doesn’t everyone admit that all the prior Councils’ teachings are of dogmatically binding authority? What, therefore, is to stop the Church from safely disregarding the experimental fancies of VII, just as soon as we escape her gravitational field?

  29. StWinefride says:

    Pater Augustinus, you ask: “What, therefore, is to stop the Church from safely disregarding the experimental fancies of VII…

    If you replace “What” with “Who”, there’s an answer. Pope ST Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis explains how the “partisans of error… lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her [the Church] very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear.”

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_x/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-x_enc_19070908_pascendi-dominici-gregis_en.html

    Pope Pius XII also condemned the Modernists, without naming them, or it – La Nouvelle Théologie in Humani Generis.

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_12081950_humani-generis_en.html

    It is an act of charity to cry out against the wolf when he is among the sheep, wherever he is.” ~ Saint Francis de Sales

  30. robtbrown says:

    Robbie,

    IMHO the Novus Ordo is temporary

  31. pancho says:

    Lookinf back at the trends in the Faith since VII regarding things like attendance at Mass, exodus of vocations, adherence to Church moral teaching, abuses in the Mass, neglect of the Sacraments (especially Confession), trends in Catholic Institutions of Higher Learning, etc, I have to wonder why there is even a desire to “canonize Vatican II” at all? Or, are these failings not related to Vatican II and I missed something? I no little about looking through the prism or the hermenutic of continuity, but it seems there has to be some connection between Vatican II and the dismal numbers that only accelerated after the council. And if not the cause, it certainly didn’t seem to do much to stop the bleeding, but rather exacerbated it.
    Unless I can be re-educated and corrected in my assertion of the effects of Vatican II, then I am not able rejoice in these rushed canonizations, particularly if the purpose was to canonize the Council.

  32. pancho says:

    Looking back at the trends in the Faith since VII regarding things like attendance at Mass, exodus of vocations, adherence to Church moral teaching, abuses in the Mass, neglect of the Sacraments (especially Confession), trends in Catholic Institutions of Higher Learning, etc, I have to wonder why there is even a desire to “canonize Vatican II” at all? Or, are these failings not related to Vatican II and I missed something? I know little about looking through the prism or the hermenutic of continuity, but it seems there has to be some connection between Vatican II and the dismal numbers that only accelerated after the council. And if not the cause, it certainly didn’t seem to do much to stop the bleeding, but rather exacerbated it.
    Unless I can be re-educated and corrected in my assertion of the effects of Vatican II, then I am not able rejoice in these rushed canonizations, particularly if the purpose was to canonize the Council.

  33. PaterAugustinus says:

    Thanks, Winefride – your namesake is a great saint, by the way!

    In re-reading my comment, it comes off sounding more exasperated than I meant for it to sound. But I truly am confused about the issue. It seems like everybody admits VII was not a dogmatic or doctrinal council… and I mean everybody; it’s not just the opinion of the SSPX, but of the Popes and Council Fathers themselves. Therefore, it is hard for me to understand why there is so much sturm and drang over interpreting a Council, whose wacky teachings are not authoritative enough to merit the strain.

    Thanks for re-iterating about the Modernists; Fatima and the clear warnings of an infiltration and apostasy in the Church, are the only way I am able to view the modern Catholic Church as still being the Catholic Church: she is the Catholic Church, but she is an unprecedented crisis. If it weren’t for the heavenly annunciation of the crisis, I would still be in the Orthodox Church!

    And I suppose that’s why it seems clear to me that this council was a “Robber Synod” (i.e., a council that was insubordinate to the Faith and even, to some extent, to the Popes); the Council would be enough, alone, to disqualify the Catholic Church from still being the Catholic Church, *if the Spirit had not prevented the Council from issuing its decrees on dogmatic authority.* Because it seems clear to me that some of its teachings are NOT “new ways of expressing” old doctrine, but are in fact radical ideas that reflect modernist and anti-Catholic, even anti-Christian, attitudes. I have great respect for Saint JPII, and for Pope Benedict. I even like Pope Francis! But even in these good men, it seems plain that the attempt to “reconcile” VII to the Tradition, sometimes leads them to endorse, or even to act upon, an erroneous worldview. It is inconceivable, for example, that any Pope prior to VII would kiss a Koran and speak of Islam – Islam, denying the Trinity and Christ’s Divinity and Passion – as a religion that worshiped “the same God” as Catholics. One of Saint JPII’s last letters, I can’t remember which, seems to have acknowledged that he, himself, was forsaking the VII outlook – a letter where he spoke about the great danger of a man-centered view that forgets about God’s centrality to everything, flatly contradicting the infamous passage in Lumen Gentium.

    So, that’s all. I’m just confused. It seems that every practicing, pious Catholic knows, that the modernists infiltrated and wrecked the Church, and that all this “hermeneutic of continuity” and “reform of the reform” is doomed to fail. It seems that many “reform of the reform” people have already announced their abandonment of the mission, the Novus Ordo being essentially irreformable and requiring constant supervision simply to maintain basic piety. When will we admit that the “hermeneutic of continuity” is also impossible, and ultimately unnecessary? I don’t view Saint JPII as an heretic or fool for making the attempt, any more than I think Pope Benedict XVI was. I respect both men. I know that they made this attempt from a spirit of obedience to the Church, and also from a desire to curb the excesses that were occurring without even the pretense of an “hermeneutic of continuity” to stop them. But it seems inevitable that the Church will have to abandon the tortured attempts at reconciliation with VII and the Novus Ordo, just as soon as this is possible. Or perhaps the Lord will return and incinerate everything first.

    Thanks for the reply!

  34. CallZorbin says:

    Father Z, I find it refreshing the way you explain these things. Papa Francis has brought some many blessing to the Church. Here in my country people are already talking about finally a new Church emerging breaking old patterns and useless traditions. Its good to have these new saints which also fought for many of the things that now Papa Francis is finally bringing about. I feel a new Christian thanks to Papa Francis and I really regret how much I tried to face and resist other people with my former beliefs which I though were the right ones.
    Thanks for your great site and bless our Pope.

  35. StWinefride says:

    PaterAugustinus, it’s also interesting to note that during the Arian crisis in the fourth century, more than 80% of the Bishops were Arian heretics.

    Blessed Cardinal Newman wrote about the Arian crisis and noted the following (my emphasis), (from EWTN):

    “Newman’s first book had been The Arians of the Fourth Century. He turns now to one of the great lessons he had learned in his researches for that book, “that in that time of immense confusion, the divine dogma of our Lord’s divinity was proclaimed, enforced, maintained, and (humanly speaking) preserved, far more by the Ecclesia docta than by the Ecclesia docens, that the body of the episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism…” Most of this section of Newman’s article consists of quotations from ancient authorities to show that the Nicene dogma was maintained during the greater part of the fourth century “1. not by the unswerving firmness of the Holy See, Councils, or bishops, but 2. by the consensus fidelium”.

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/NEWMNLAY.HTM

    Blessed Cardinal Newman also famously said:

    “I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold, and what they do not, who know their creed so well, that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity…”

    Blessed Cardinal Newman, pray for us!

  36. Midwest St. Michael says:

    StWinefride and PaterAugustinus,

    I don’t post here at FrZs much (because I am not as intelligent as the vast majority of posters here – so I just read them), but I wanted to thank you both for your contributions to this thread. Very thought provoking posts.

    MSM

  37. StWinefride says:

    Midwest St Michael,

    AMDG! :)

    I happened to read the following this morning, and then saw your comment. It sums up how I feel about speaking out, even if it means being labeled a “radtrad”, and as an aside, I appreciate the fact that Father Z allows/tolerates “radtraddy” comments! Where it says Carmelite Order read Catholic Church, and members of that Order read members of the Catholic Church, or the Holy Prophets, St Peter and the Apostles etc. – the following by St Teresa of Avila puts everything in perspective.

    We belong to a race of Saints

    So I say now that all of us who wear this holy habit of Carmel are called to prayer and contemplation. This explains our origin; we are the descendants of those who felt this call, of those holy fathers on Mount Carmel who in such great solitude and contempt for the world sought this treasure, this precious pearl of contemplation that we are speaking about.
    Let us remember our holy forebears of the past, those hermits whose lives we aim to imitate. We must remember our real founders, those holy fathers whose descendants we are. It was by way of poverty and humility, we know, that they came to the enjoyment of God.
    On the subject of the beginnings of Orders, I sometimes hear it said that the Lord gave greater graces to those saints who went before us because they were the foundations. Quite so, but we too must always bear in mind what it means to be foundations for those who will come later. For if those of us who are alive now have not fallen away from what they did in the past, and those who come after us do the same, the building will always stand firm. What use is it to me for the saints of the past to have been what they were, if I come along after them and behave so badly that I leave the building in ruins because of my bad habits? For obviously those who come later don’t remember those who have died years before as clearly as they do the people they see around them. A fine state of affairs it is if I insist that I am not one of the first, and do not realize what a difference there is between my life and virtues, and the lives of those God has endowed with such graces!
    Any of you who sees your Order falling away in any respect, must try to be the kind of stone the building can be rebuilt with—the Lord will help to rebuild it.
    For love of our Lord I beg them to remember how quickly everything comes to an end, and what a favor our Lord has done us in bringing us to this Order, and what a punishment anyone who starts any kind of relaxation will deserve. They must always look at the race we are descended from—that race of holy prophets. What numbers of saints we have in heaven who have worn this habit of ours! We must have the holy audacity to aspire, with God’s help, to be like them. The struggle will not last long, but the outcome will be eternal.”

    http://www.meditationsfromcarmel.com/content/all-carmelite-saints-0

  38. Midwest St. Michael says:

    StWinefride,

    A good and Godly morning to you. :^)

    Your last post/quote reminded me of a book I am currently reading by a German monk, Fr. Benedict Baur, O.S.B., titled “Frequent Confession” (a fantastic book, first published in *1922*, which the Lord has used to show me *much* about this beautiful sacrament that I did not know).

    See it here: http://www.amazon.com/Frequent-Confession-Place-Spiritual-Life/dp/1889334162/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399028120&sr=8-1&keywords=frequent+confession+its+place+in+the+spiritual+life

    This is taken from the beginning of chapter eight, titled “The Perfect Life”:

    “Our times are times of crisis. Men fear and lament; they feel uncertain and disturbed. The old principles are no longer accepted; new theories are pronounced about everything: about the state, politics, economics, social life, law, morality; about the whole Christian life and even about the Church and the Faith. Proposals of all kinds are made and the most diverse means are recommended as remedies for the ills of the world. Today, therefore, it is more necessary than ever for us to open our hearts to the call of God, who alone can show us the way to deliverance and safety, and to heed his voice telling us: ‘Be renewed in the spirit of your minds’ (Eph. 4:23).

    The fundamental evil that afflicts our times and from which we all suffer is that the interior life of men, even Christians, has grown weak. The remedy is not that we fall in with the principles of the world or with what is called ‘public opinion’, that we adopt the tendencies and outlook of the passing moment, but rather that we withdraw into ourselves and try to become aware of the supernatural powers with which God has endowed us and see to it that they develop fully: until we think and live in a truly Christian way. What our times need is new men, really Christian men; true, interior, perfect Christians, who with all their strength try to answer the call of the Lord: ‘Be ye perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Matt. 5:48).”

    To me this line says it all: “The old principles are no longer accepted; new theories are pronounced about everything…”

    May our Beloved Savior guide us all in these truly uncertain times.

    God love you St. Winefride,
    MSM

  39. StWinefride says:

    Midwest St. Michael,

    Thank you for the book tip – it’s on my list!

    God Bless!